Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Selecting the Checks and Balances

The post-election jamboree roles on. Despite the flurry of activity over the close of Labour leadership nominations, today’s Select Committee Chairman elections are not to be ignored. ConHome has the most comprehensive coverage.

Given any LibDem with an ounce of talent, and plenty lacking even that, are now in government, it came as no surprise that the two committees allocated to them were uncontested and two old timers Beith and Bruce are now running the hugely significant International Development and Justice Committees.

On the Labour side some old faces are still refusing to retire with any dignity they might have left. Slimey Keith Vaz is up for re-election as Home Affairs Chairman and absurdly received backing from Tim Montgomerie and Will Straw. Vaz has shamefully abused his position on that committee. There are some fairly underwhelming candidates for the other posts. The most significant committees and tight races are on the blue side.

A combination of a some fiercely independent candidates, a right-wing troublemakers slate and frankly some appalling nominations will make for an intriguing fight today. Carswell at Defence will put the fear of God in to the MOD and can only liven things up.  The defence manfacturers have let down the armed forces (and taxpayers) for decades. Carswell is the man with a mission to put that right.

Nadine has an outside shot at Health and is attempting to convince the Labour MPs that her views on abortion do not outweigh her NHS experience. She has got an impressive range on cross-party support for such a Marmite-figure. She would liven things up considerably.

Guido has made his views perfectly clear on why Tim Yeo’s financial interests render him completely unsuitable for the Energy job and thankfully he has a challenger in the cheapest MP, staff-less Philip Hollobone. Whether MPs will side with the parties and all those investment opportunities or the more humble man remains to be seen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Getting Real : The Change Coalition (Part II)

A few weeks ago Guido asked a CCHQ insider privy to strategy “What is the negotiating strategy with the LibDems?  Is it true Matthew Hancock is in charge of the strategy?” He laughed “the joke of the negotiation strategy is that there isn’t one. If we lose narrowly we’ll leave it up to Clegg to either support Labour or stand alone.  Go on to fight a second election and hope to win more comfortably.”

What, Guido asked, if the differential is big? “Don’t be f***ing stupid.”

That LibDem negotiation strategy might be a higher priority nowadays. Hancock is the Tory PPC for West Suffolk and formerly George Osborne’s chief-of-staff, Cleggmania means the problem now has the attention of those above his pay grade.  Last Sunday Guido sketched out a potential May 7 scenario, Tim Montgomerie was horrified, the feedback Guido got was more mixed – mostly it was sceptical based on contact with the LibDem grassroots.  Left Foot Forward editor Will Straw mirrored Tim Montgomerie, telling Guido in Dimbley’s green room that it was just not going to happen, the LibDems were “progressives”. Well that is a pretty meaningless term, it has even been borrowed by the Cameroons for their agenda.  The confusion in the ranks of Labour and Tory true believers is based on the experience of contact with Libdem activists, many of whom are way to the left of Blairites.  The parliamentary party is not by and large left wing - it is centrist.

Clegg and the people around him are not of the left, Vince Cable is, but he is the exception.  The Orange bookers and the Cameroons share key liberal ideological tenets – localism, decentralisation, transparency and a preference for market based solutions.  On the need for “savage cuts” in government spending, accelerated deficit reduction and NHS reform the LibDems have been more honest than the Tories.  Most Tories can live with LibDem manifesto commitments on tax (apart from the enterprise killing capital gains hike). They are singing from the same fiscal policy hymn-sheet.

There are real areas of discordance, in particular defence and foreign policy.  Here the LibDems betray their liberal radicalism, Clegg is desperately trying to square grassroots weirdie-beardie antipathy to anything nuclear with being in the government of a UN security council member and nuclear power.  Letting the Tories have primacy on defence and foreign policy and the LibDems have primacy on home affairs, localism and open government is the most likely compromise. It would also broadly reflect the electorate’s wishes.

We have come a long way in the last 7 days, the well connected chronicler of the Cameroons Matthew D’Ancona now says get real it is on the cards, Cameron tells the Observer the door is open and One of the keys is the people who are liberal with a small L, Clegg tells the Sunday Times that “You can’t have Gordon Brown squatting in No 10″, Mandelson warns voters that flirtation with Clegg might lead to a Cameroon marriage.  The public  on the other hand always love a big wedding.  The bookies make a hung parliament the strong favourite outcome with a 60% probability and give the Tories only a 37% chance of forming a majority governmentChange is definitely coming and it will probably be in the form of a coalition…

See also : The Change Coalition

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Change Coalition

Imagine it is the afternoon of May 7…

The Tories have received 33% of the popular vote, LibDems 29% and Labour 24%, a strong 6% showing by the BNP concentrated in Labour heartlands has shocked the political system and given the party its first Westminster MP in Stoke, where Labour’s vote split. UKIP’s Nigel Farage has taken Buckingham, after two recounts, by 7 votes.  Ed Balls has lost his Morley and Outwood seat to the Tory hero of election night, Antony Calvert.  The SNP has made strong gains strengthening Alex Salmond’s claims for Scotland to be granted more self determination.

Due to the iniquities of the electoral system Labour is still the largest party in Westminster, just.  Harriet Harman has demanded Gordon Brown resigns and announced her intention to seek the leadership, Miliband hasn’t been seen. Charlie Whelan publicly tweets blame on Mandelson’s electoral strategy and “corrupt Blairites” for Labour’s defeat.  Alastair Campbell is bailed at West London Magistrates’ Court after his live on-screen 3 a.m. drunken assault on Nick Robinson.

After unofficial back-channel communications between Samantha Cameron and her third-cousin at Buckingham Palace all morning, the Queen’s Private Secretary calls the leader of the Conservative Party and asks him to come to the palace.  The Private Secretary then calls Nick Clegg and asks him to come to the palace as well.

In what is the iconic picture of the election, Cameron walks out of his Millbank headquarters along the Thames embankment to 4 Cowley Street where Nick Clegg greets him and together they walk purposefully towards the Mall surrounded by photographers and cameramen as crowds cheer and many ask “which one is which?”

In what were reportedly good natured discussions all morning the terms of a “Change Coalition” had been agreed by 3 pm.  Clegg as expected is Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, Cable is Chancellor, Osborne takes his old sparring partner’s job at Business. Phil Hammond and David Laws are tasked with cutting spending and reforming taxation at the Treasury.  Lord Adonis remains as the government’s Transport Minister, Frank Field returns to the Department for Work and Pensions, both take the Liberal whip. Chris Huhne, ominously for the coalition, chooses to go to the backbench rather than accept cabinet collective responsibility as Defence Minister.

The most difficult horse-trading over the coalition was of course over Europe and electoral reform. Hague went to the FCO much to the relief of the Tory base and Ed Davey becomes the cabinet’s Minister for Constitutional Reform (Douglas Carswell gets a promotion as his deputy with special responsiblity for localism).   The leaders realised that they could not take their respective parties with them if they compromised on either of these two issues.

The average age of the cabinet is now 44, the centre-piece of the Queen’s speech is to be a Great Repeal Bill, undoing 13 years of authoritarian legislation and strengthening civil liberties, restricting the growth of the surveillance and database society. The Big Society reform programme promises to fundamentally re-balance state and society in favour of a smaller more open government.  Cable promises an emergency budget within 30 days signalling tough action on the deficit.  The gilt market hits a 3 year high and the pound rallies 12% on the close.

Norman Tebbit, who was by her bedside, blogs the sad news that Baroness Thatcher has passed away.  Her last words were “Norman, they buried the Labour Party before me.”

Punters on Politics Smarkets says there is a 56% chance of a hung parliament

Monday, April 12, 2010

Over-Spending Socialists Crushed in Elections

This situation maybe familiar: an over-spending left-of-centre government faces election, the centre-right opposition offers a promise of tax cuts and free market reforms to bring economic growth to a country which is on the verge of bankruptcy.

In Hungary overnight Fidesz have swept the socialists out of office winning 52% of the vote to the ruling party’s 19%.

The Fidesz party logo is an orange smiley face and this morning the smile is very broad…

Guido fact: Back in 1988 Fidesz were a little known rag-tag bunch of idealistic libertarian students under threat of arrest from the communists. The great David Hart, fresh from smashing Scargill’s thugs, channeled support to them from the West. Within a year Hungarian communism fell and Fidesz were in government. Another reason to recognise David Hart with an honour.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Iain Dale Loses Campaign for Election Night Counts

Guido thinks that overnight counting is an anachronistic waste of people’s time and the civilised, sensible thing to do would be to count the votes the next day when everyone has had a good sleep. Only political junkies love the drama of the late night count.

Iain is claiming victory for his campaign to keep the overnight count.  However there will he admits himself still be nearly thirty pioneering constituencies for next day counting on Friday 7 May. 30 constituencies could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in this election so the result might not be known on the night...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Its Off

The Downing Street twitter feed will be silenced shortly, the website will be mothballed, SpAds will have already handed in their Blackberries. The Civil Service is now running the country…

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monty 4 Salisbury

Last night saw a bit of Twitter swarming suggesting ConservativeHome founder Tim Montgomerie would be a perfect local candidate for Salisbury. The incumbent Tory MP Robert Key has announced he does not intend to stand at the next election.

Guido hasn’t spoken with Tim, but would commend him for his strength of character and sense of purpose. We don’t agree on much ideologically, but Guido has the utmost respect for him as an operator and an innovator. Friends are pressing Tim to consider standing. As good a candidate as he would undoubtedly make, one questions whether Tim would really enjoy the lowered status and reduced influence he would have as just another backbench MP…

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Loser Labour Candidates Want Electoral Reform Shocker!

Thirty-four Labour PPCs  have written to Gordon begging him for a referendum on reforming the electoral system to be the final installment of his outgoing scorched earth policy.  The letter that has the backing of the left-wing front-group “Vote for Change” reads “we do not believe that Labour will benefit at the next general election unless voters see that we are prepared to actually deliver a chance of real change.” All very nice, but it doesn’t take long before you see their true reasons for wanting the vote:

“A referendum on polling day on a system that delivers real voter choice would see hundreds of Liberal Democrats switching to Labour, hundreds more stay-at-home Labour supporters coming out to vote for the government and every Tory opponent on the back foot trying to explain why the failed old system is worth keeping and why Cameron wouldn’t give the people a say.”

A quick look through these thirty-four wannabes shows that just one of them – former Portillo slayer and 2005 Enfield loser Stephen Twigg  - has any chance of winning their seat. With the average losing majority (at the prevailing polls levels) expected to be 28% no wonder they are so keen on widening the goalposts, just look at the predicted* majorities they are up against:

Would they be backing the vote if the odds were not overwhelming stacked against them?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gordon’s Afghan Summit Excuse for Pre-Election Photo-Op

Funny how desperate Gordon is to have a New Year summit on Afghanistan in London. Withdrawal from Afghanistan could be some kind of a legacy for him. More likely the real reason he wants the summit is so he can get a few photo-ops that feed into his “Gordon leads the world delusion” in time for the General Election.  Remember back in March how he milked the London G20 Summit for all it was worth, desperate for a little stardust to be sprinkled on him during strolls and photographs with Obama?

That fawning and excruciatingly embarrassing joint interview (above) in Washington last March?

Gordon wants a pretext to bring Obama to London so he can play the international statesman saving the world again in the run up to the election.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is May 6 the Day the Shadow of Brown is Lifted?

May 6Bloomberg surmises that although June 3 is the last date the Prime Mentalist can call the election, the locals scheduled for May 6* is the date implied by a 34-page Labour document, “General Election Handbook Part 1 — A day-by- day planner for your general election campaign,” issued to candidates at the conference.

The handbook is an idiots guide for activists detailing tasks to perform every day.  For example on Thursday, March 18, it instructs them to “follow up budget coverage.”

At the beginning of April, candidates are told “increase the campaign activity to a maximum level” and switch to the “Short Campaign Handbook,” which details what to do once an election is called.

The Labour Party is stretched financially and the union paymasters know that Labour is set to lose, so they would rather throw money at one not two elections, therefore combining the two campaigns makes sense.  The sooner the better…

*Chief Crazy Horse of the Sioux famouly surrendered to the United States on May 6.  Somehow seems relevant.

UPDATE : It is also Tony Blair’s bithday, so it will be nice for him to see his heir take his old job.


Seen Elsewhere

UKIP Reshuffles | James Forsyth
David Ruffley’s Future Under Discussion by Tories | BBC
The LibDem’s Jewish Problem | Jeremy Brier
Israeli Ambassador’s Letter to Clegg | Twitter
What Became of Cameron’s Big Society Network? | Indy
SpAd Reshuffle | PR Week
Clegg Under Pressure to Expel Ward | Telegraph
Labour’s Teachers Trained in the Art of Brainwashing | Jago Pearson
R.I.P. John Blundell, Former IEA Director General | Atlas
UKIP Hasn’t Gone Away | ConHome
Ward: I’d Be a Terrorist if I Lived in Gaza | Breitbart


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Sarah Vine writes of Esther McVey…

“McVey told Grazia that she hasn’t married or had children because she ‘never found anyone to wind her biological clock’ … If I remember rightly, half the current Cabinet would have cheerfully ‘wound her clock’ if she’d given them a glimmer of a chance.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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